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SANTA MONICA : Plan to Give City More Control Over Airport Reviewed


A proposal for Santa Monica officials to have more control over the Santa Monica Airport was sent back for revisions after it was criticized by airport neighbors as too weak and by pilots as too strong.

The City Council ordered the airport staff to draft development standards last year, following complaints by neighbors that they had not been notified before airplane hangars were constructed.

But on Tuesday, the council said it would not endorse or comment on the proposed ordinance until the Planning Commission and Airport Commission first made suggestions to improve it. No dates were set for the reviews by the commissions.

The draft ordinance would have increased the city's oversight on large projects by requiring the Planning Commission to review new construction larger than 2,500 square feet, or higher than 18 feet. For smaller projects, the only review would be done by the planning department staff, and public notification would not be required for projects deemed not detrimental to surrounding residential neighborhoods.

Neighbors, who have long complained about noise and pollution generated by the busy airport, criticized the proposed standards as too lenient.

Even small projects can trigger wide-ranging problems, said Jim Donaldson, chairman of the North Westdale Neighborhood Assn.

Councilman Ken Genser agreed, saying he found the thresholds "too liberal."

However, in a letter to the council, the Santa Monica Airport Assn., which is primarily composed of pilots, said control of the airport building should remain with airport staff and the Airport Commission and not include the Planning Commission.

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